Category: Just One

To the Graduating Class of 2002

It was said in a Chicago Newspaper Article that everyone should try their hand at writing a graduation speech, so here is mine.  Eleven years past due to the class of 2002:

We all have things we regret and we will all have many more, you take chances and risks.  If you open your heart and turn risks into knowledge, they will become manageable lessons instead of regrets.  

Use sincerity in everything you do.

Decisions will have to be made, whether they are good are bad.  My best advice is that you stick to the decisions once you make them. 

Eat strawberry pop-tarts cold. 

Love a whole bunch in your 20’s and do it clumsily.  By your 30’s learn what a secure attachment is and pass that on to your children.  

Accept apologies and apologize.  

Never let money become more important than green and cream paper.  Manage it and don’t let it manage you. 

Let your pride go immediately after it comes. 

Go to the movies by yourself at least once.  Learn how to be alone.  With a movie, with a book, with yourself.  It’s amazing what you learn when all the other chatter is gone. 

Learn something from a stranger. 

Don’t be afraid to wait.  Don’t be in a hurry to marry, have kids, go to college or do what everyone else is doing.  Do it your way and make it right. 

If you have a strong passion for something try making it your career. 

Be with your loved ones as much as you can.  And when they are gone, remember them as much as you can in the little things you do.  

Exercise. 

Observe people rather than judge them.  Leave categories for arbitrary things like plants and food, don’t reduce people to categories. 

Find happiness in the little things. 

Try to find the silver lining in anything you do.  Venting and complaining are not known to help the psyche feel better.  Positive vocabulary leads to a positive attitude. 

Be open-minded.  

You will not always win, you will rarely be the best.  Learn how to take this with grace. 

Don’t let other people’s bad moods or attitudes become yours. 

Be careful what you do in public social media forms, don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable showing your parents, your boss, or your future children.  

Live life with poise and passion and never give up on any of your dreams. 

Your best years will be your 30’s.  

Don’t place too much weight on epiphanies.  

Laugh as much as your can for as long as you can. 

Jealousy in Your Relationship

The definition of jealousy is, “feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.”  We describe jealousy in a relationship as the way a partner may feel towards certain situations.  An example is a woman who is getting phone calls from a male co-worker.  Her boyfriend may express discontent with the relationship between his girlfriend and the co-worker.  However, what is the boyfriend “jealous” about?  Does he envy the other man in some manner or is there something deeper that is taking place and making it uncomfortable when his girlfriend engages in friendships with others.  I believe the factors are situational dependent, but it is likely that the boyfriend doesn’t like her engaging in this type of friendship because of his own insecurities.

Now, whatever those insecurities may be of the jealous party, it is important that they are able to appropriately express their feelings to their partner.  If a woman is “jealous” of her man talking to another girl at the bar, there are many ways to respond.  Here are some that I believe work better.  It is likely that these situations solely occur when others are present thus sparking the reaction in the first place.

1. Wait until after the party.  If you are at an event together and something is bothering you about the actions of your partner that are stirring up jealousy, then try to wait until you are alone together to discuss it.  Waiting until you are cooled down is a good idea anyways.  Talk about like this; “Hey sweetie, I saw you talking to that other guy and it made me feel sort of bad.  I was wondering if you could explain to me who he is, and if we could find a good way to interact with others at events that makes us both comfortable?”  Making a statement that is non-confrontational and non-judgemental will be important.  Express only how it made you feel without blaming the other person’s actions. (It is completely appropriate to ask for explanations on who certain people are that you haven’t met yet. Someone willing to answer those questions or disclose information freely has nothing to hide.)

2. Develop a system.  Pre-discuss situations or things that may lead to either of you being uncomfortable and have a plan.  Maybe you are at a public place and your partner steps away and you get approached.  Since, you pre-discussed it, the response that you both decided on may be pointing your partner out to the other party and saying, “Oh, my boyfriend is right over there.”  Trying to go into a situation blind always leads to confusion.  It is good to know where each partner stands on issues that can bring up jealousy.  This way you can both act according to the plan.

Insecurities aside, I have been with people who have purposely tried to provoke jealousy in me by flirting in front of me.   It is important that you recognize when someone is trying to make you feel jealous or insecure, and that you give them only one thing: A “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  Ah, screw it, let it knock you down!” Communication is key to overcoming insecurities, and all of us have them at one point or another.  A great partner will understand what makes you uncomfortable and do everything in their power to limit your distress, not to create it.  Also, it is equally important that if your partner has not given you a direct reason to not trust them, that you work on or evaluate why you have insecurities in certain areas of your life.  The likelihood is that they existed long before this partner.  It is not fair or good for a relationship to let something like jealousy creep in all the time.

How I Found Happiness and You Can Too

If you recall Einstein was responsible for the theory of relativity.  He said, “Time is relative.”   It also turns out that some other findings by Isaac Newton lead to that discovery.  Now, I know little about theses theories, little about astronomy, and much less about physics.  I do know one thing, however.  The more I searched for and longed for happiness myself, the more I learned about where to find it.  You see, happiness is also relative.  It is relative to the observer who is measuring it.  It is relative to what sort of ruler you are using to gauge where it is you want to go.

For me, the happiness ruler was finding an equilibrium.  It was finding a balance between work and play.  It was figuring out how to be content as a constant searcher.  It was learning how to know and trust myself, and make up my own definition for happy.

 

Now I recently, after ten years of searching, found a profession that I love and I am good at.  I am a Marriage and Family Therapist who still gets to incorporate an enjoyment for writing and research into the profession.  I continue to gain insight and education by some of the best in the field.  Once that part of the ruler was settled, much more seemed to be measurable.

 

What I’ve learned in the Search for Happiness:

 

 

1. Self- Help books or articles that proclaim to know “How to Find Happiness” are shining moments like the motivational video that I posted last night.  They give you a boost to start your engine.  Once the engine starts, it is up to you to find that path. No book, article, or moment can get you there.

2. Learning how to live in the now has increased my happiness significantly.  This is not because I am not a planner.  I plan.  In fact I have my planner scheduled out to May of 2014.  Learning how to live in the now required that I do one thing at a time.  If I am eating, I eat.  If I am writing, I write.  If I am watching a movie, I watch that movie.  I noticed that decreasing the busy-ness that I had created in my life, decreased anxiety and increased enjoying life’s moments.

3. Bad Habits replaced with good ones.  I was in my old hometown this October when a girlfriend of mine mentioned that she had stopped giving her kids milk because of all the hormones.  This got me thinking a lot.  Although it is difficult to ever be perfect, I made some very important changes in regards to eating more organic, taking more vitamins, and exercising.  Exercising releases dopamine and (at least for me) eating organic and getting the proper vitamins has helped significantly.

4. Taking up a hobby that resembles nothing close to work.  For me, I began DIY.  I had a passion for crafts and art growing up, so I wanted to bring that back into my adult life.  Now I enjoy my job and writing, but it was important for me to pick a hobby that allowed my mind to get as far away from thinking as possible.

5. I always used to say never instead of never saying always.  It has been important in my search for happiness to learn about balance in all areas.  I stopped (most of the time) using words that imply all or nothing such as never and always.  Sometimes I slip up and sometimes I don’t.  I allow myself grace to not eat organic sometimes or to miss days at the gym. Staying consistent leads to happiness more than extreme life changes of short duration. 

Finding happiness now is relative, because you will journey through figuring out how to be happy over and over again.  And now will be relative to where you are in your life and what you are doing.  Cheers to finding your happiness now and constantly enjoying the ride.

Wedding Bells in My Future…

I figured that it is time to write some more articles about my personal journey; I mean what good is all the objective relationship advice and discussion if you don’t hear some of my subjective experiences.  Self-realizations have to be a part of the process in order to implement change.  You can have all the knowledge in the world, but it won’t do you any good if you can not put it to use.

This all began one day when I called my mom to let her know that I had some news.  It went like this:

Me: “Mom, guess what?”

Mom: “What?”

Me: “Jason and Jamie are getting married!” (Both good friends of mine). 

Mom: “You are getting married! You and John are getting married!”  (Screaming to my father). Honey, Laurie and John are getting married!”

Me: “MOM! MOM! MOM!  I said Jamie and Jason are getting married.”

As I listened to my mom’s demeanor change and calm, I explained to her that John and I had broken up months ago.

I also told her that I was glad to know what excitement she would feel for a man to propose to me; even if it was a man she had yet to meet.  Thank God my Dad wasn’t updating his Facebook status at the time!  Why was it that every time I traveled the 2000 plus miles home, everyone wanted to know who the man in my life was?  It was a typical question that made its way into conversation after conversation.  I mean, maybe it was partially my fault for making my last relationship FBO (Facebook Official).  Or maybe I felt uncomfortable about even being asked that question.

Whatever the reason was, it had a multitude of social and personal factors.  What matters is how we react to it; it helps you discern where you are in the growing process.  In the aftermath of my mom carrying  on, I realized it was the first time that I acknowledged the ending of my last relationship.  As I had to, once again, tell close family members and friends that I had ended yet another relationship; I began to feel the weight of what I thought would be their disappointment, but I realized it may have been my own.

So I looked back at the reasons why my other relationships had ended.  I realized one common theme: that for whatever reason or another some aspect of each relationship was falling short of what I or the other person really wanted or needed in the relationship.  That is the thing about dating and being in relationships with other people; we are trying to figure out what we want our best relationship to look like; the person we want to spend the rest of our life with.  For some of us that happens in our 20’s, but for some of us it will be in our 30’s and on.  As I get ready to turn 30 in less than a year, I welcome the idea that I have yet to find my best relationship.

During my 10 plus years of dating, if anything, I was getting much better at it. I was understanding the realities of what it takes to make a relationship healthy and long-lasting.  In my mid-twenty dating, I thought I could harness change or mold the people who I was with.  I now realize there is little you can do to change anyone.

The best you will get is the best that person is capable of giving you.  Who they are today and the habits they have are what they will have tomorrow and forever.  Everyone has faults, but if you can strengthen each other in personality and purpose in life you will find that happiness and love will thrive.  So, Mom and everyone, I can not promise you wedding bells in my future, but I can promise you that I will strive to welcome it as I find true happiness and love in myself.  Until then, I will be, Just one.